US embassy cable - 05PARIS1517 (redacted version)

PSI: FORMAL FRENCH RESPONSE TO U.S. DEMARCHES ON PSI CASE INVOLVING SUSPICIOUS CARGO BOUND FOR SYRIA; POSSIBILITY THAT GOODS WILL BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE ON TO SYRIA (redacted version)

Identifier: 05PARIS1517
Wikileaks: View 05PARIS1517 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Paris
Created: 2005-03-08 15:19:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PARM PREL ETTC HK PK CM GM FR MTCR
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show unredacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001517 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NP/CBM 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 15 YEARS 
TAGS: PARM, PREL, ETTC, HK, PK, CM, GM, FR, MTCR 

SUBJECT: PSI: FORMAL FRENCH RESPONSE TO U.S. DEMARCHES ON  PSI CASE INVOLVING SUSPICIOUS CARGO BOUND FOR SYRIA;  POSSIBILITY THAT GOODS WILL BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE ON TO  SYRIA 
  REF: A. PARIS 01311 
 
     B. STATE 34422 
     C. STATE 30198 
     D. PARIS 1087 
     E. ATHENS 517 
     F. ATHENS 553 
  Classified By: EST COUNSELOR ROBERT W. DRY FOR REASONS 1.5 (B), (D), AN  D (H). 
 
1.  (S)  On 04 March 2005, EST officer met with David  Bertolotti, MFA Deputy Director of Disarmament and Nuclear  Nonproliferation, who provided a non-paper representing the  Government of France's (GOF) formal response to the Embassy  demarches presented on 19 February and 01 March.  The French  non-paper outlined the GOF actions to date regarding the  Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) case involving a  shipment of dual-use aluminum laminates to the Syrian company  Syronics, and included information previously reported Reftel  A.  The French non-paper included the results of a 03 March  meeting among several GOF agencies actively involved in the  PSI case.  Bertolotti also presented EST officer with a  verbal briefing on the current legal considerations in this  case and likely GOF actions from this point onward.  The full  text of the French response was submitted to the Department  via secure fax. 
 
2.  (S)  In the written response and subsequent verbal  briefing from Bertolotti, EST officer learned that as of 02  March, the GOF had agreed to apply 'catch-all' provisions to  all future shipments by the French company Francare to Syria,  and have begun a formal investigation of the shipment  currently in port at Piraeus, Greece.  Bertolotti stressed,  however, that the consideration of whether 'catch-all' can  apply to the current shipment is an open question, and French  customs and security officials are consulting with Greek  counterparts to determine under what authority they have held  the cargo beyond the 10 day limit allowed by European Union  (EU) law ce 1334/2000.  Bertolotti added that the GOF hoped  that there was a provision in Greek national law that would  allow the impounding of the cargo beyond the 10 day limit,  but that he was currently not aware that such a provision  existed.  Bertolotti also informed EST officer that French  authorities were trying to ascertain whether or not the  shipment was re-exported into Greece, in which case there  would a legal justification under EU law for holding the  shipment beyond the 10 days allowed. 
 
3.  (S)  Bertolotti further advised (and as reflected in the  French non-paper) that the French have concluded that the  shipment cannot be held on the basis of a false documentation  claim to customs authorities given that the material is not  regulated by EU dual use law ce 1334/2000, and that Francare  provided both an accurate description of the goods (13  containers of aluminum sheets) as well as their destination  (Syronics) on the shipping documents. 
 
4.   (S)  Following examinations of the aluminum laminates by  the relevant French laboratories, the French findings were  analogous to the general conclusions reached by the U.S.  regarding the materials in the shipment and their likely  application in electronic circuitry boards.  The results of  the laboratory analysis are that the laminates correspond to  the A-M1 type of aluminum laminates, and that they correspond  to the products TSA-12 and TSA-93 from the U.S. company  Tristar Laminates Inc.  Bertolotti added that these laminates  were not necessarily specific to those used in circuitry  boards for ballistic missile systems, and could be used in  civilian electronic systems also. 
 
5.  (S)  Bertolotti highlighted the request contained in the  non-paper for the U.S. government to provide more concrete  information regarding our conclusion that the goods are  destined for use by Syria's Scientific Studies and Research  Center (SSRC) as part of Syria's ballistic missile program. 
He further remarked that, while not explicitly stated in the  non-paper, if in the continued consultations with Greek  authorities the French determine that the Greeks have no  legal basis for holding the goods, and if the U.S. government  is unable to provide additional, concrete information  confirming that the material is intended for use in Syria's  ballistic missile program, the French position will be that  the goods be released for shipment to Syria without further  delay. 
 
6.  (S)  At the close of the meeting, Bertolotti told EST  officer that he hoped to be able to provide another update  during the week of 07 March. 
Leach

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